Jamie Alvarro was a citizen of Tyrus and enlisted Gear in the COG Army during the last years of the Locust War. Coming from a family with a long history of military service, Jamie saw his enlistment as part of his civic duty to his homeland's socialist ideals, but beyond that nothing more than a job he was expected to do. Instead, he aspired to use his experience as the foundation for a career in business, but could never find the right opportunity to leave.
Jamie's family had lived for generations in Montevado, a city on the edge of the Jacinto Plateau. Living amidst the city's widespread poverty, each generation since the beginning of the Pendulum Wars had used military service as a way of escaping Montevado's slums, making Jamie's eventual enlistment all but a certainty when he was born into an overcrowded household of parents, grandparents, and cousins, all of whom would expect it of him. His mother, however, who had married into the family and already lost two brothers to the conflict, wanted better for her son. When Jamie was five, she attempted to walk out on the family, taking Jamie and the last few service checks her husband had sent home, and would have had Jamie not cried out about wanting to stay. Confronted by her in-laws, Jamie's mother fled with her husband's money—and without Jamie.
Emergence Day changed little for the Alvarros, though as casualties mounted and reenlistment benefits increased, Jamie's grandfather, uncles, and even a few aunts joined or rejoined the COG Army to help support the many children left behind, while Jamie became responsible for helping care for his younger cousins. He, too, wished to serve, especially when the COG lowered the minimum age of enlistment, but his grandmother forbade him to leave until he'd reached what she maintained to be the proper age of service at eighteen. In 10 A.E., however, when Jamie was sixteen, and by which time many of his aunts and uncles had been killed in action, the Tyran capital of Ephyra fell to the Locust Horde, making Montevado the edge of COG-secured territory and no longer safe. His grandmother, head of their household, made the decision to uproot their family and join the stream of refugees making their way to Jacinto. Knowing she would be too old to survive the journey, however, she elected to remain behind, and charged Jamie with ensuring his cousins reached the city safely.
In this task, Jamie was only partly successful. Of his thirteen cousins, three died from starvation making the journey, two were either lost or abducted by Stranded or other refugees, and one was killed during a Locust raid, as did their infirm great aunt, the last adult with them. When they reached Jacinto, however, Jamie followed his grandmother's instructions and contacted the Kulm family—prominent Jacinto aristocrats whose own patriarch had owed his life to Jamie's grandfather during the Pendulum Wars. While their patriarch's son denied the Alvarros shelter in their own home, he did ensure the COG's resettlement organizers found a secure home for them. While the supplies rationed to them by the COG were almost enough to be sufficient, which was a far better situation than that of most refugees, Jamie still felt the obligation to his family—both living and unliving—to provide for those who remained, and joined the COG Army through Operation: LIFEBOAT.
Jamie's first tour was spent at Fort Monroe, a border outpost on the northern border of the Jacinto Plateau. The fort served as a watch post for any Locust movement in the mountains just beyond the plateau's hard bedrock, and as such was extremely remote. Supply convoys meant for them were often raided by Locust or desperate Stranded, and the base commander often illicitly allowed trade with the local Stranded bands to make up the difference. Jamie's first tastes of combat came as skirmishes on patrol, either defending Stranded outposts in exchange for the little food they cultivated, or just as often fending off the same Stranded attempting to raid them for the supplies to defend themselves. He proved a capable rifleman and was quickly granted a promotion to Corporal.
Thereafter, Jamie was returned to Jacinto and served as part of the city's home guard, whom were tasked mainly with police duties as hungry refugees became more prone to rioting. Upon returning, he was unsurprised to learn his three oldest cousins had followed his lead in joining the service, and disappointed to learn one had been killed in the line of duty already. After the failure of the Lightmass Offensive, Locust raiding parties began striking far enough into the plateau overland to reach Jacinto City, meaning Jamie's duties again began to resemble more what was expected of a Gear. Fighting in grim, desperate urban warfare to deny their enemy targets of interest, Jamie feared more for the targets deemed inconsequential, including the neighborhoods where refugees had been resettled. He began looking into other points on the plateau refugees had been routed to, considering moving what little family he had left.
When the announcement came for Operation Hollow Storm, Jamie was one of the few Gears not to immediately volunteer, instead intent on staying in Jacinto in the defense of their home. The operation, however, resulted in a Locust counter-attack on the city, an attempted full-scale invasion. Using heavy turret emplacements, Jamie and the home guard fought off swarms of Reavers until the unexpected call came in to evacuate the city. Unable to reach the district his younger cousins lived in, Jamie entrusted their safety to the COG and joined his squad as they prepared to join the retreating convoys. But en route, they passed through Jacinto Medical Center to find dozens of sick and wounded who'd been left behind by the evacuation effort, along with a handful of nursing staff who'd stayed behind. Determined to make every effort to save them, their squad leader flagged down a passing Assault Derrick, Rig 227, and defied the evacuation orders by taking the Rig out of fighting shape to serve as a transport for the patients who could be moved. As the last of them were loaded, Locust forces closed in on them, and the squad leader chose to sacrifice her men by having a few more take her squad's places on the Rig—except for Jamie, whom she tasked with seeing them to safety. With his squad providing cover fire, Jamie and Rig 227 rolled out of the city.
Over the following two weeks, Rig 227 would be on its own in the Tyran wilderness after it failed to link up with any major convoy. Only two Gears—Jamie and Specialist Cass Valentini, the Rig's mechanic—were present to protect the Rig's driver and two dozen passengers from Stranded, feral animals, and potentially surviving Locust. Without direction from a higher authority, they elected to follow the coastline south in search of a COG rally point and the safety of numbers. In this informal setting, the crew had to quickly become quite familiar with each other, and all were counted on for survival. The few nurses who'd come with them had brought little more than what medication they could seize to help their patients, and the Gears were tasked with hunting, as they'd brought no supplies with them. During these hunts, dire wolves and other megafauna of Tyrus were a daily risk, until at last the Rig's transceiver picked up the signal of a Coalition beacon.